The entire tech world, it seems, is in Las Vegas this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, a technology trade conference where more than 2,500 vendors are showcasing some of their newest gizmos and gadgets. Bloggers took a break from posting oversized photographs of robots and table-sized touchscreens to express their disappointment with Verizon Wireless when executives made no mention of the Apple iPhone coming to their service, a rumor that has been kicked around for years now.

It seems likely, though, that the wait could be coming to an end.

Boy Genius Report (BGR) confirmed this morning that all Apple employees have been denied requests for vacation days between February 3rd and February 6th, Thursday through Sunday. Writing on Neon Tommy, the online publication of the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, Paresh Dave noted that Verizon Wireless typically starts selling new phones on Thursdays. If BGR's anonymous source is to be believed -- and I suspect that it is based on the site's ability to break Apple news in the past -- it's likely that the Verizon iPhone will debut on Thursday, February 3.

When Apple debuted the iPhone 4 last year -- exclusively on the AT&T network -- it also stopped its employees from taking vacation days for a four-day period between June 24th and June 27th. That release date would allow for Apple and Verizon to launch a massive marketing campaign going into Super Bowl weekend and it's all hands on deck in Cupertino when a new product rolls out.

Releasing the phone any later than early February might hurt sales of -- and media attention surrounding -- Verizon's 4G LTE smartphone, which is scheduled to hit shelves in March.